Your friend Ninette Nobis was a tourism management student when you were at university together and is now a manager of an upmarket hotel in the Exquisite Hotels chain. Because of the impact of an economic downturn on her customers, Ninette is concerned about the cash flow of the hotel she manages. Ninette needs advice on how to improve the business’s cash flow. You begin your research by reading the article below.
Cash is king, especially for busy, growing companies. But many businesses say they have noticed that customers are increasingly paying their bills later and later. And they are not alone.
A recent Dun & Bradstreet study showed that on average Australian businesses are being paid more than three weeks over the standard 30-day payment term, putting a squeeze on cash flow.
Good cash flow management is the solution to the gap between the time you have to pay your suppliers and employees and the time you collect from your customers.
The first step is to prepare cash flow projections for the next year, the next quarter, even the next month. Start by adding cash on hand with cash to be received. What cash will we get in, from who and when?
Then have a line item for everything you must pay out, such as rent, salaries, equipment, and advertising. Now you have an idea of exactly where you stand.
Next, look at how you can improve payment. Offer discounts to customers who pay bills quickly, issue invoices more promptly and follow up firmly if they’re late even by a few days, ask new customers for a deposit when an order is taken, and avoid slow-paying customers.
At the same time, manage your suppliers and payables. Take full advantage of payment terms, using electronic banking to make payments on the last day they are due. Also look at your costs carefully and make cuts where you can.
Finally, anticipate the worst. There might well be a day when you find you are short on cash. Speak to your bank now, when business is good, about a line of credit. You might never need it but your bank will be more receptive when your business is fundamentally sound than if you have to go cap in hand one day.
Also speak to your suppliers. If you have been a good customer, they will want to see you stay in business and might give you extended terms of payment.
Based on the Herald Sun
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